The original Dundies episode of season 2—back when this show was a bold new force on television—was truly a classic. Who could forget Phyllis winning the “Bushiest Beaver Award” instead of the “Busiest Beaver Award” or a wasted Pam falling off her stool drunk while flirting with Jim? Therefore, I was concerned when I knew that this episode was going to revisit this worthy awards ceremony tonight, not because I didn’t want to see the Dundies again, but because the past few seasons of this show have been so weak that I was afraid it would get butchered. But I am happy to report that this episode was strong enough to bid fond farewell to a beloved Dunder Mifflin tradition and thank Michael Scott for a job well done.
In the spirit of the Dundies—and honoring excellence for totally random things—I am just going to provide some key highlights from “Michael’s Last Dundies”:
- Michael training Deangelo on how to deliver the nominations in the early morning as if they are Oscar noms. The best house by far was Meredith’s rundown place (anyone else think it was Creed’s house before Meredith strolled up drunk?). And Deangelo’s reaction to the house was probably his wittiest line in an episode that showcased his weakness in mastering banter: “This reminds me of Katrina.”
- Michael’s insistence that the show must go on without him was both meaningful to the Dundies within the show and a meta reference to The Office itself. While I disagree that The Office should continue past this season, it made much sense that Michael would not want his legacy destroyed or forgotten in his absence. As Michael hilariously, and incorrectly, put it, “When Larry King died, they didn’t just cancel his show…”
- The preparation for the Dundies included a few winning lines, from Michael’s direct jab at Ricky Gervais—“The Dundies are like the Golden Globes but less mean”—to Ryan arguing that people who have clearly never tried crack should not be allowed to say that something is “as good as crack.” A more appropriate choice of words would be, “The breadsticks are like scrapbooking.”
- The video that Michael and Deangelo filmed as a spoof of awards show opening video montages was pretty spot on! Michael’s interpretations of his staff were both incredibly bad and incredibly good at the same time. I especially loved Stanley laughing hysterically at Michael’s Phyllis impression while she was not amused. The video’s impact was even better explained by Oscar: “The analytical part of me wants to examine it, but…”
- As in season two, the acceptances and speeches really ranged from person to person and personality to personality. Jim, for instance, satirized all those actors who get up and tell their kids who are watching at home to go to bed. Dwight trashed his award because he is still hurting from Michael abandoning him and not feeling Michael’s love in being named a worthy replacement. But the best and most awkward acceptance was Erin’s, who took Pam’s advice to end her loveless relationship with Gabe to heart, but decided to tell him in her public speech: “I cringe when you talk, Gabe.” Ouch! But so true. Which was more awkward—Erin’s break-up speech or the fact that Gabe then got up to say a few words in response?
- While I didn’t find much about Deangelo’s story amusing (I know we weren’t supposed to find him funny; but I am referring to the fact that his character overall is not working for me) I did enjoy the parody of The King’s Speech. It made perfect sense that Michael would take the most critically acclaimed movie of the year and simplify it down to the part where the king listens to loud music so he can’t hear his on voice. Unfortunately, Deangelo’s excessively loud speech got them kicked out of the restaurant.
- Last but not least, Andy, Daryl and company’s rendition of the emotional RENT song “Seasons of Love” was truly inspired, funny and touching. THAT is how you send Michael Scott off into the sunset—and honestly, something like that is how this show should end. Too bad it is not ending on that note. The entire office crew sang their own lyrics to the song, exclaiming, “9,986,000 minutes! We actually sat down and did the math…9,986,000 minutes, that’s how many minutes that you’ve worked here!” And they went on to each have verses measuring their memorable times with Michael, from costumes to email forwards to the Oscar kiss…”That’s like watching Die Hard 80,000 times.” Michael’s teary response to such a tribute was priceless: “OK, well, this is going to hurt like a mother-BLEEP.”
What did you think of the Dundie’s last hoorah? Are you ready for Michael to leave? Will you stop watching next season, or will you sometimes “text or call or email…or CALL” a few times to check in on life in Scranton?